Out of Prison, Real-Life Thomas Crown Looks Back on Almost-Perfect Heist


When the housing market nosedived, Curcio had to find another way to fund his addiction. He began planning a crime that would bring him more notoriety in Monroe, Wash., than his Friday-night victories on the football field.

While sitting in a Jack in the Box parking lot across from a Bank of America, he watched a Brinks truck pull up to the bank. For three-and-a-half months, he meticulously studied the patterns of the Brinks trucks, their movements, when the most money was being delivered to the bank, how many people were in the truck, how the money was removed. Angry with the banks for helping cause the real estate collapse, Curcio felt entirely justified in his plan.

He posted a Craigslist ad soliciting day laborers for a landscape job, instructing them to wear a very specific outfit and to arrive at the bank parking lot at the time of his planned heist.

Curcio's plan coalesced: He would approach the Brinks truck, spray the driver with mace, take the bags of money and run across the street -- which, in a real-life echo of "The Thomas Crown Affair," would be full of men dressed exactly like him.

Curcio would run to a nearby creek, where an inner tube would be waiting to take him downstream, to a parked getaway vehicle. It was the perfect plan.

Or so he thought.

Two weeks prior to the day he planned to strike, Curcio did a dry run and left his disguise behind a Dumpster. A homeless man who panhandled the corner in front of the bank spotted it and suspected foul play. When Curcio came back to retrieve the items, the man confronted him, taking down his license plate number in case there would be a need to call the police.

Curcio didn't think twice about the man.

On Sept. 30, 2008, Curcio executed his plan successfully, robbing the Brinks truck and escaping down a stream in a yellow inner tube with a bag containing $400,000 in cash.

Detectives investigating the theft didn't get far, but then they got a big break. As it turned out, the homeless man had called 9-1-1 to report the suspicious stash. When the detectives learned this, they tracked the man down. He became the crucial witness who could connect Curcio with the scene and tools of the crime.

Curcio was arrested on Nov. 4, 2008. He was later convicted and sentenced to six years in federal prison. In April, after serving five years, he was released.

Now sober, he has replaced drawing diagrams of armored trucks with drawing children's books and educating young people about drug addiction. He has co-authored a book, titled "Heist and High," and written and illustrated more than 20 children's books on topics like drug addiction and incarcerated parents.

Curcio will always live in the shadow of his crimes.

"I understand a lot of people may not listen," he said, "because I remember I was like that. But even if just one person listened out of a thousand, that's one person that doesn't have to go through this, that's one family that doesn't have to go through this. So I know what it is, where I want to go; I just don't know how long it's gonna take me to get there. But that's O.K. In the meantime, I am going to keep doing the right thing, keep spending as much time as I can with my kids and family."

Watch the full story of the elaborate heist and the way the case was cracked on "20/20" TONIGHT at 10 p.m. ET.

For more information on Curcio's book and projects, visit www.acurcio.com.

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